Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has just announced industry performance statistics for 2017.

According to the stats, included in newly released 62nd Edition of the World Air Transport Statistics (WATS), the yearbook of the airline industry’s performance, worldwide annual air passenger numbers exceeded four billion for the first time. That’s a lot of passengers and equates to an additional 280 million trips by air over 2016.

Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region once again carried the largest number of passengers, and represents the lion share of the overall market with a 36.3% market share.

Good news and supporting evidence to justify the recent separate investments by Hong Kong Airlines and Recaro Aircraft Seating respectively.

Recaro is ramping up its seat production capability to 60,000 seats per year, with the expansion of its Qingdao facility. The assembly lines are expected to be up and running sometime next year.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong Airlines has unveiled its latest ambitions to revamp its premium services for customers with the launch of a new business class product including a new seat and IFE system on its fleet of A350 aircraft.

“These are significant investments for the Company, and will help lead Hong Kong Airlines into a new decade of success,” said Wang Liya, Hong Kong Airlines vice chairman and president.

Since taking delivery of its first Airbus A350 aircraft the airline has continued to push for service enhancements for its business class offerings, with initiatives including the launch of new tableware featuring dimsum-shaped salt and pepper shakers, as well as “Truly Hong Kong” designs for its amenity kits.

“In 2000, the average citizen flew just once every 43 months. In 2017, the figure was once every 22 months. Flying has never been more accessible. And this is liberating people to explore more of our planet for work, leisure and education. Aviation is the business of freedom,” commented Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

With such demand in the region, it looks like money well spent.

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